Seongjong of Joseon

Seongjong of Joseon (August 19, 1457 – January 19, 1495) was the ninth king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. He succeeded King Yejong in 1469 and ruled until 1494.

Yi Hyeol
King of Joseon
PredecessorYejong of Joseon
SuccessorYeonsangun of Joseon
Born19 August 1457
Died19 January 1495 (1495-01-20) (aged 37)
ConsortQueen Gonghye
Queen Jeheon
Queen Jeonghyeon
IssueYeonsangun of Joseon
Jungjong of Joseon
Posthumous name
King Gangjeong Inmun Heonmu Heumseong Gonghyo the Great
Temple name
Seongjong (성종, 成宗)
HouseJeonju Yi
FatherDeokjong of Joseon
MotherQueen Sohye
Seongjong of Joseon
Revised RomanizationSeongjong
Birth name
Revised RomanizationI Hyeol
McCune–ReischauerI Hyŏl


Seongjong was the 9th King of the Joseon period of Korea. He was born the second son of Crown Prince Uigyeong and Subin Han-ssi 수빈한씨 and was then named Prince Jalsan (잘산군). When he accessed to the throne, his father (1438-1457) was elevated to the status of King Deokjong and his mother (1437-1504) to Queen Insu.

Seongjong was the grandson of Sejo, the 7th King, and the nephew of Yejong, the 8th King. He succeeded King Yejong in 1469 when the weak king died and his son was too young to succeed him. In the same move, Jalsan's older brother Grand Prince Wolsan (1454-1487) was recused as having a too weak complexion. [1]

Since Seongjong was only 12 when he was crowned, his grandmother Queen Jeonghee ruled the nation in his name, along with his mother Queen Insu. In 1476, at the age of 19, he began to govern the country in his own name.

His reign was marked by the prosperity and growth of the national economy, based on the laws laid down by kings Taejong, Sejong, and Sejo. He himself was a gifted ruler. In 1474, the code of law, first ordered by King Sejo, was completed and put into effect. Seongjong also ordered revisions and improvements to the code.

Besides the law, he also encouraged Confucian scholars; He greatly expanded Hongmungwan (홍문관; 弘文館), the royal library and advisory council to the king at the same time, and strengthened so-called Three Offices (Hongmungwan, Office of Inspector General, Office of Censors) as check and balance on the Royal Court. For the first time since King Sejong, he brought many liberal Confucian scholars to his court, whose political views went against those of the conservative officials (members of the nobility) who had helped kings Taejong and Sejo to power. In this way he made his rule more effective by appointing able administrators regardless of their political views. His policy resulted in many positive innovations, increasing his number of supporters. The king himself was an artist and scholar, and liked to argue about the finer points of politics with more liberal scholars. He encouraged scholars to publish numerous books about geography and social etiquette, for example, as well as areas of knowledge that benefited the common people.

It was under Seongjong's reign that the Widow Remarriage Ban (1477) was enacted, which strengthened pre-existing social stigma against women who remarried by barring their sons from public office.[2] In 1489, Seongjong condemned a woman of the royal clan, Yi Guji, when it was discovered that she had cohabited with her slave after being widowed.[3]

He also sent several military campaigns against the Jurchens on the northern border in 1491, like many of his predecessors. The campaign, led by Gen. Heo Jong (허종; 許琮), was successful, and the defeated Jurchens led by Udige (兀狄哈) retreated to the north of Amrok River. King Seongjong was succeeded by his son, Yeonsangun (1476-1494-1506) and thereafter by another of his sons Jungjong (1488-1506-1544).


  1. Queen Gonghye of the Cheongju Han clan (8 November 1456 – 30 April 1474) (공혜왕후 한씨)[10][11][12]
  2. Queen Jeheon of the Haman Yun clan (15 July 1455 – 29 August 1482 (제헌왕후 윤씨)[13][14][15][16]
    1. Prince Yi Hyo-Shin (1475) (이효신)
    2. Yi Yung, Crown Prince Yeonsan (23 November 1476 – 20 November 1506) (이융 연산세자)[17]
    3. Unnamed son
  3. Queen Jeonghyeon of the Papyeong Yun clan (21 July 1462 – 13 September 1530) (정현왕후 윤씨)[18][19]
    1. Princess Sunsuk (1478 – 14 July 1488) (순숙공주)
    2. Princess Shinsuk (1481 – 13 February 1486) (신숙공주)
    3. Yi Yeok, Grand Prince Jinseong (16 April 1488 – 29 November 1544) (이역 진성대군)
  4. Royal Noble Consort Myeong of the Andong Kim clan (명빈 김씨)[20]
    1. Princess Hwisuk (휘숙옹주)[21]
    2. Princess Gyeongsuk (1483 – ?) (경숙옹주)
    3. Yi Jong, Prince Musan (1490 – 1525) (이종 무산군)
    4. Princess Hwijeong (휘정옹주)
  5. Royal Consort Gwi-in of the Chogye Jeong clan (? – 20 March 1504) (귀인 정씨)[22][23]
    1. Yi Hang, Prince Anyang (1480 – 1505) (이항 안양군)
    2. Yi Bong, Prince Bongan (1482 – 1505) (이봉 봉안군)
    3. Princess Jeonghye (1490 – 6 August 1507) (정혜옹주)[24]
  6. Royal Consort Gwi-in of the Yeongwol Eom clan (? - 20 March 1504) (귀인 엄씨)[25][22][26]
    1. Princess Gongshin (1481 – 1549) (공신옹주)[27]
  7. Royal Consort Gwi-in of the Andong Kwon clan (1471 – 1500) (귀인 권씨)
    1. Yi Byeon, Prince Jeonseong (1490 – 1505) (이변 전성군)
  8. Royal Consort Gwi-in of the Uiryeong Nam clan (귀인 남씨)
  9. Royal Consort Suk-ui of the Lee clan (소의 이씨)
  10. Royal Consort Suk-ui of the Ha clan (숙의 하씨)[28]
    1. Yi Sun, the Prince Gyeseong (1478 – 1504) (이순 계성군)
  11. Royal Consort Suk-ui of the Namyang Hong clan (1457 – 1510) (숙의 홍씨)[29][30]
    1. Princess Hyesuk (1478 – ?) (혜숙옹주)[31]
    2. Yi Su, Prince Wanwon (1480 – 1509) (이수 완원군)
    3. Yi Nyeom, Prince Hwoesan (1481 – 1512) (이념 회산군)
    4. Yi Don, Prince Gyeonseong (1482 – 1507) (이돈 견성군)
    5. Yi Hwoe, Prince Ikyang (이회 익양군)
    6. Yi Chim, Prince Gyeongmyeong (1489 – 1526) (이침 경명군)
    7. Yi In, Prince Euncheon (1490 – 1524) (이인 은천군)
    8. Princess Jeongsun (정순옹주)
    9. Yi Hui, Prince Yangwon (1492 – 1551) (이희 양원군)
    10. Princess Jeongsuk (1492 – 8 February 1573) (정숙옹주)
  12. Royal Consort Suk-ui of the Jeong clan (숙의 정씨)
  13. Royal Consort Suk-ui of the Kim clan (숙의 김씨)
  14. Royal Consort Suk-yong of the Shim clan (숙용 심씨)
    1. Princess Gyeongsun (1482 – ?) (경순옹주)
    2. Princess Sukhye (1486 – 1525) (숙혜옹주)
    3. Yi Gwan, Prince Yiseong (1489 – 1552) (이관 이성군)
    4. Yi Jeon, Prince Yeongan (1490 – 1538) (이전 영안군)
  15. Royal Consort Suk-yong of the Kwon clan (숙용 권씨)
    1. Princess Gyeonghwi (경휘옹주)
  16. Royal Consort Suk-Won of the Yun clan (숙원 윤씨)

His full posthumous nameEdit

  • King Seongjong Gangjeong Inmun Heonmu Heumseong Gonghyo the Great of Korea
  • Korean: 성종강정인문헌무흠성공효대왕; Hanja: 成宗康靖仁文憲武欽聖恭孝大王

Portrayal in mediaEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^성종(조선)
  2. ^ Uhn, Cho (1999). "The Invention of Chaste Motherhood: A Feminist Reading of the Remarriage Ban in the Chosun Era". Asian Journal of Women's Studies. 5 (3): 45–63. doi:10.1080/12259276.1999.11665854.. Issue Purchase: 30 days to view or download: EUR 127.00.
  3. ^ 성종실록 (成宗實錄) [Veritable Records of Seongjong] (in Korean and Literary Chinese). 226. 1499.
  4. ^ He was given the posthumous title "Deokjong" (덕종)
  5. ^ Posthumously granted, as she was never a Queen Consort due to her husband's early death
  6. ^ She was known as the "Dowager Queen Insu" (인수대비) during her son & her grandson's reigns (the latter as the Great Royal Dowager Queen (대왕대비))
  7. ^ 6th daughter of Hwan Hwak (한확), Lord Yangjeol (양절공), Internal Prince Seowon (서원부원군), and later Left State Councillor (좌의정); and Lady Namyang, Princess Consort to the Internal Prince, of the Hong clan (남양부부인 홍씨)
  8. ^ Two of her paternal aunts include: Consort Kang Hui Zhuang Shu Li (康惠莊淑麗妃; 강혜장숙여비), one of the 30 beautiful women hanged and buried with the Yongle Emperor (永樂帝; 영락제) after his death; and her younger sister Madame Gong Shen (恭愼夫人; 공신부인), one of the Xuande Emperor's (lesser-known) concubines
  9. ^ Married in 1450 as Princess Consort to then-Prince Dowon (도원군). Was confirmed as the Princess Consort to the Royal Prince Successor in 1455, given the title of Royal Noble Consort Jeong (정빈; later became to Royal Noble Consort Soo (수빈))
  10. ^ Died in Changdeok Palace (창덕궁), in the Guhyeon Hall (구현전)
  11. ^ Youngest daughter of Han Myeong-hwoe (한명회), Lord Chungseong (충성공), Internal Prince Sangdang (상당부원군); and Lady Hwangryeong, Princess Consort to the Internal Prince, of the Min clan (황려부부인 민씨). Her elder sister Han Naeng-yi (한냉이) was the predecessor king's 1st wife
  12. ^ Married in 1467 as (Lady Cheon-an (천안군부인)) Princess Consort to then-Prince Jalsan (잘산군)
  13. ^ Posthumously granted by his infamous son, as she was known after her deposition on June 2, 1479, as the "Deposed Queen, Lady Yoon" (폐비 윤씨) thereafter
  14. ^ One of Seongjong's former concubines; Suk-ui rank, before Queen Gonghye died. Elevated to the rank of Queen Consort after giving birth to the first-born son
  15. ^ Daughter of Yoon Gi-gyeon (윤기견, ?-?; also known as Yoon Gi-mo (윤기무)), Internal Prince Ham-an (함안부원군), and later Chief State Councillor (영의정); and Lady Shin of the Goryeong Shin clan (부부인 신씨)
  16. ^ According to the Annals (3rd year of Prince Yeonsan's rule), her beauty was said to resemble Princess Noguk's face.
  17. ^ After his deposition on September 2, 1506, he was given the title "Demoted Prince Yeonsan" (연산군)
  18. ^ Also one of Seongjong's former concubines; also Suk-ui rank, in 1473. Elevated to the rank of Queen Consort in 1479, soon after Lady Yoon had been deposed
  19. ^ Daughter of Yoon Ho (윤호, 1424–1496), Lord Pyeongjeong (평정공), Internal Prince Yeongwon (영원부원군); and Lady Yeon-an, Princess Consort to the Internal Prince, of the Jeon clan (연안부부인 전씨). Elder cousin of Yoon Pil-sang (윤필상, 1427 – April 14, 1504)
  20. ^ Differentiated from one of Taejong's concubines with the same clan and rank
  21. ^ Later married Im Sung-jae (임숭재), 2nd son of Im Sa-hong (임사홍); created Military Officer Pungwon (풍원위). His elder brother (Im Gwang-jae (임광재)) is the husband of the predecessor king's daughters
  22. ^ a b Both women were beaten to death, in Changgyeong Palace (창경궁), ordered by Prince Yeonsan in response to the Gapja Sahwa (갑자사화)
  23. ^ Daughter of Jeong In-seok (정인석, 1424–1504)
  24. ^ Later married Ha Gi (한기)
  25. ^ Also known as Eom Eunsoyi (엄은소이)
  26. ^ Daughter of Eom San-soo (엄산수)
  27. ^ Later married Han Gyeong-chim (한경침), son of Han Bo (한보; Lord Yangho (양호공)), grandson of Han Myeong-hwoe (한명회); created Military Officer Cheongryeong (청령위)
  28. ^ Daughter of Ha Yeon (하연)
  29. ^ Originally of So-yong (소용) rank, elevated under Prince Yeonsangun to Suk-yong (숙용), and after the September 2, 1506 coup, to Suk-ui (숙의) (along with her title "Palace of Motherly Kindness and of Long Life" (자수궁; 慈壽宮)
  30. ^ Daughter of Hong Il-dong (홍일동), Magistarte Dongjijungchu (동지중추부사)
  31. ^ Later married (April 27, 1490) Shin Hang (신항), son of Shin Jong-ho (신종호); created Military Officer Gowon (고원위)
Seongjong of Joseon
Born: 1457 Died: 1494
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Joseon
with Queen Jeonghui (1469–1477)
Succeeded by